OUCCI hopes govt can assist Orang Ulu students to further studies in universities

Mutang delivering his speech prior to the launch of OUCCI. Screenshot taken from Sarawak Public Communications Unit's (Ukas) livestream today (July 27, 2021).

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By Adrian Lim

KUCHING, July 27: The Orang Ulu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OUCCI) hopes that the government can assist more Orang Ulu students to further their studies in institutions of higher learning.

Its president Datuk Mutang Tagal appealed to the government to allow native Orang Ulu students who may not meet the university entry requirements to be given the opportunity to further their studies in local universities.

“The OUCCI appeals to the government to allow Orang Ulu or native students who may not meet the full criteria to enroll in local public universities.

“Towards this end, the OUCCI and Forum will assist by providing the list of qualified students to be considered by the respective institutions, especially those in Sarawak such as Unimas (Universiti Malaysia Sarawak) and UiTM (Universiti Teknologi Mara).

“We hope the institutions will be considerate in this aspect, and we are confident this can lead to a further increase of at least 10 per cent or more in future intake,” he said during the launching of OUCCI at a hotel here today.

At present, Mutang noted the intake of students to public institutions of higher learning is handled by the centralised system of the Students’ Intake Unit of the Higher Education Ministry.

Thus, all applications will be subjected to a set of seven common criteria, especially their academic achievements.

For that, Mutang believed the merit-based system has some drawbacks for students from rural areas especially with limited teaching and learning facilities.

More often than not, he noted the selection process will exclude students that do not meet the criteria stipulated.

Mutang added public universities such as Unimas and UITM can also set a minimum allotment for Orang Ulu students to be offered and accepted to highly sought courses.

He also proposed that Swinburne University and Curtin University offer their programmes at an attractively discounted fee to encourage participation and to make tertiary education attainable to all Orang Ulu students.

Likewise, Mutang revealed that OUCCI had recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Binary University to assist Orang Ulu students in the fields of Information Technology Management and entrepreneurship.

He disclosed that Binary University is a government approved institution of higher learning under the Higher Education Ministry and an accredited member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (UK), a member of the International Association of Universities (France) and listed in United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco’s) world higher education directory.

Through the collaboration, Mutang noted the university will provide academic and skills programmes to the Orang Ulu communities to enable rural students to access international quality education and enhance their entrepreneurs skills.

OUCCI is the latest business chamber established in Sarawak and was launched by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg today.

Among those present during the launch were Abang Johari, OUCCI vice president Datuk Nelson Balang Rining, Minister for Local Government and Housing Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian, Utilities Minister Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi, Assistant Minister of International Trade, Industry Terminal and Entrepreneur Development Datuk Naroden Majais, Assistant Minister for Utilities (Rural Electricity) Datuk Liwan Lagang, Mulu assemblyman Dato Gerawat Gala and Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau. — DayakDaily